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A painting made by a participant in The Putney School’s summer arts program.

The Arts

Putney School moves its summer arts program online

Students collaborate and take risks — this year, from home

For more information about the Summer Arts & Writing Program, visit

PUTNEY—During July, 55 students participated in the Summer Arts & Writing Program for teens at The Putney School.

Unlike past years, however, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the program to move its 10 arts and writing workshops online, according to Tom Howe, the school’s director of summer programs.

“Students are working together with their peers, engaging with teachers and with one another, learning, making art, and taking creative risks as they express themselves through their work, ” Howe told The Commons.

Moving the program online was a big task for Howe and colleague Dan Folgar, the two staffers who run the program.

The two teachers had 150 students lined up to come to Putney this summer when the pandemic hit.

“We had to act decisively,” Howe said.

Folgar and Howe pivoted, going online with 10 arts and writing workshops, “giving teens from around the country and the world, an engaging and dynamic studio experience, all while working synchronously online and off-screen in their garages, hallways, living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms,” Howe added.

For the past 33 years, The Putney School has offered art workshops in the summer for teens. This year’s offerings included fashion design, storytelling, animation, painting, drawing, filmmaking, animation, photography, and printmaking.

Working with teachers, artists, and peers, the students are positioned to continue their creative work beyond the scope of the three-week program, Howe said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #572 (Wednesday, July 29, 2020). This story appeared on page A7.

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